Folks, This Ain't Normal
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Folks, This Ain't Normal

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  1,459 ratings  ·  244 reviews
Farmer Joel Salatin is the 21st century's thinking man's farmer who believes that the answer to rebuilding America is to start with the family farm and for those farms to thrive, we all need to learn how to eat naturally again. Salatin's solutions as presented in the book are very simple and easy to implement in any American household - whether in the suburbs of Chicago, t...more
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Published October 10th 2011 by Findaway World (first published January 1st 2011)
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Melissa
Joel Salatin can be a little too folksy at times. I have a feeling that if he & I were to sit down & talk politics, we might shortly start shouting at each other. He tends to over generalize about people whose views he dislikes; for example, it's an awfully big leap to assume that a woman who complains to her HOA about a neighbor's tomato plant is also a Democrat. This does not make him even one iota wrong about the state of food in this country, however. There is information within this...more
Erica
I'm about 1/3 the way into this book (I've had to return it because there are other people on hold for it) and I find Mr. Salatin to be something of a hypocrite. The funny thing is that I generally agree with many of his over-arching ideas, but the guy just comes across as a major jerk and I have a hard time taking him seriously. He's got some good points and some great ideas but he delivers them like a crusty old man, cane in the air, yelling, "Back in MY day, you whippersnappers wouldn't have...more
Sally
Apr 23, 2012 Sally marked it as to-read-library-has  ·  review of another edition
Library's buying it!!
I wish I could make every paragraph into a quote.

Chapter summaries:
1. Children, Chores, Humility and Health
Work is good for us, and having our kids work is not only good for their health and character, but vital to the family and community as well.

2. A Cat is a Cow is a Chicken is my Aunt
Animals don't need to be treated as humans to be treated well. Each animal has its biological needs which are different than humans'. To anthropomorphize animals' needs is not only to mistre...more
Wendy
I think Joel does great work regarding farming and food production. But im not reviewing Joel or even his philospohy This is a book review and what I'm disappointed about t is the patronizing tone. Page 168 "I have news for you: That lumber doesn't grow there (in a hardware shop)..."

Not exactly news to me. Is it to you? There are many examples like that which I found annoying.

To even elect to pick up this book suggests the reader has an interest in health, food and the environment. There is al...more
Newengland
This is The Omnivore's Dilemma with a teaspoon of local yokel and a tablespoon of political swagger. Author Joel Salatin is a proud foodie libertarian, and if you sense an oxymoron in that pairing, you'll need to read his no-nonsense book to get the lowdown.

Yep. Joel wants to kick some ass. Mostly big government ass. Strangely enough, he finds himself allied with all the liberal Democrat foodies when it comes down to what we should be eating. It's the government that drives him mad. The "food p...more
Joanne
This would have received a much higher rating from me except that I could not stand the folksy, campy, down-home, patronizing tone of the writing - you'd think I would have seen that coming in the title.

Salatin shares lots of insightful, relevant ideas but he seems oblivious that he is as enmeshed in a neo-liberal, corporatized culture as anyone. He positions himself above and outside of typical (NOT normal!) North American life while arguing that, like his family, people should plant, share, an...more
Tuck
Joe salatin has become famous over the decades as a Virginia farmer who uses older folkways of farming to successfully have a modern and profitable farm. So he does not use any chemicals or pharmaceuticals in his rather large livestock operation , but rather composted fertilizers, and symbiotic animal living for soil and animal health respectively. And has been wildly successful, from about 100 acres of arable (and 400 of woods/forest) he and his family have taken a highly eroded and worn out fa...more
Yblees
Mr Salatin has developed some excellent methods for sustainable farming, most of which is so scalable, I'm able to make use of his ideas in my own back yard to keep 2 (yes, just two) urban hens happy. An excellent, entertaining read about thinking outside the box.

Somebody should probably tell him the installation of rainwater tanks in Australian urban areas only started in the last few years,and is by no means widespread in every city. As recently as 13 years ago, it was difficult even to insta...more
Cathy
This was a very interesting book. How is life different than it was a scant 80 to 100 years ago? Dramatically. People - particularly American people - are for the most part completely disconnected to their basic needs. Food, water, energy, heat -- all essential for life, are provided to us by some process we mostly don't understand. If we suddenly found ourselves without them, or the means to procure them, we would all literally die for lack of knowing how to get them ourselves. In a word, we ar...more
Mike Moskos
You'd have to read whole lot of books to get the volume of information Joel packs into this book--I know, I think I've read most of them. Get past what so many other reviewers' described as his rant, and you'll see he's years ahead of many other writers (including the eloquent Michael Pollan who is about 5 years behind Joel's thought, but is nonetheless an incredible read). No surprise of course, Joel and his family have been living this way for a long time. Like Will Allen, his farming practice...more
Michael
I'm a big fan of Joel Salatin. I first came across him in the excellent documentary Food, Inc., then read more about his Polyface farm in The Omnivore's Dilemma. He's written several books; Folks, This Ain't Normal is his newest, and the only one I've read so far. I'll write my review in two sections, because I had two strong reactions to the book.

First, Joel Salatin makes farming seem like the most interesting thing in the world. His farm (and I am simplifying here) takes sunlight, turns it int...more
Natalie
As someone who lived in South America once upon a time, who saw what life is like when food is LOCAL (little shops on every corner, people who rode big huge tricycles through the streets selling rabbit, milk, open air "ferias"/farmer's markets, etc.) and loved every minute of it, this book resonated with me.

Did you know that before 1946 there were no supermarkets? Well, that's what Joel Salatin says. I have yet to fact check it (and I need to feed my kids breakfast, so I can't right now, sorry)....more
Shiya
This was a fabulous book, though I have mixed emotions about some of the topics covered. I came across Salatin's work by way of a TED Talk given by Michael Pollan (author of "In Defense of Food"). Salatin is a permaculture (worth looking up on Wikipedia) farmer of Polyface Farm in Virginia. He has come up against numerous roadblocks to what he terms more normal ways of living, eating, and producing food. He provides a comparison of how current North Americans generally think of food, water, ener...more
Megan
This just feels like the wrong book at the wrong time. If you want to be lectured at for 300-some pages, go for it. Sure, he can be humorous; but he seems interested in packing in so many anecdotes and pieces of farming knowledge that the jokes seem rushed and flat. And much of what he is trying to point out has at this time already been renewed as common wisdom, while the book has a tone of "look what I discovered!"

A good amount of what he has to say is surely correct, and has a certain wisdom...more
Naftoli
As well as an informational book about agriculture both large & small and nutrition, it is also a call to action. Many themes are embedded in this book not the least of which is 'how do we take back our autonomy from the government that purports to know what we should eat?'

This books educates and challenges. Joel Salatin has a sharp wit and an even sharper tongue; he does not hold back. This is not a book for the person who likes the status quo; this is a book for one who wants to know what...more
Sherral
Joel Salatin is one of my heroes and I really enjoyed getting to know him better through this book. There were a few parts that I felt were kinda repetitive, but like it was on purpose. I felt like Joel was saying, "You need to hear this again. You need to hear this again. This is important, you need to hear this again." And I did need to hear it again, lol!
Read it! It will change the way you think, how you view the world, and how you react to what you see. (At least, I hope it will!)
David Reber
Do you know what you are eating? Then why do you continue to eat fast foods and let your children drink soda? Joel Salatin nails it again with his down to Earth humor revealing more truths about the food industry and once again illustrating that "You are what you eat and what your food eats." Admittedly, this book has my head spinning and I don't know what to do with most of the information the Salatin discusses but at least it has me thinking.

This book is a must read.
Catherine
I'm completely onboard with the premise that as a society we are too removed from the process of growing, raising and producing food. The work that it takes to prepare and plant and the time and care to raise healthy animals, most people have no experience. I miss planting and canning and talking about planting. I digress. I just didn't appreciate the preachy tone.
Bobbi
Salatin has some great ideas for aspiring farmers and consumers. He sees clearly our need to recapture a healthier type of agriculture, and practices closed loop farming and ranching. I've learned a lot from attending his talks and from this book. He's a great supporter of building local economies and walks the walk.
However.
You could see that coming right?
He's an irascible ideologue when it comes to politics, and a hardliner on homeschooling and the proper ways to raise kids. While his enthusias...more
Spryng
This is a hard book to review because it's basis and ideas are so far out from what we as a society consider normal - heck, what even I as a millennial hippy consider should be normal. It's very much outside the box and very much combative against any idea that our current food system is safe, healthy, and/or sustainable, which is refreshing and - because the author tackles so many subjects in a new and more extreme manner - thought-provoking. But at the same time, because it is so very far out...more
Aspen Junge
If you are familiar with Joel Salatin, you know him as the salty, libertarian, grass-based farmer from Virginia seen in The Omnivore's Dilemma and Food, Inc. Here he is at his saltiest and least restrained.

This book is Salatin's polemic about the differences between biological farming (which he practices) versus the modern industrial, chemical, cheap-energy based system of farming, and why his version is better. He takes on the ideas that fertilizer/tillage/CAFO farming is the only way to feed a...more
Jenny
I first read about the author, Joel Salatin, in Michael Pollan's book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, and thought he had a very interesting approach to food and farming, so I read this book to find out more about it. Mr Salatin's political thinking is way to the right and more libertarian than mine, and he tells us halfway through the book that he is a six-day creationist, so he and I don't see eye to eye there either. For these reasons I found the last three chapters or so of this book impossible to t...more
Stacy
Since the shout out he received from Michael Pollen in "The Omnivore's Dilemma", Joel Salatin and his Polyface Farm have been in the spotlight of America's food issues debate. He travels regularly giving speeches, and I must say, this book is more like a transcript of a speech than a literary work, complete with his personal lingo, jokes, a lot of repetition, and strong language. (Not cussing, just the expression of very strong opinions.)

See, Joel is not a guy who can be easily categorized and h...more
Nancy McKibben
Oct 27, 2013 Nancy McKibben rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers interested in sustainable agriculture, food, Big Agriculture, and what we can do about it
Folks, This Ain’t Normal
By Joel Salatin

Despite the folksy title, this book is a manifesto written by a farmer who takes the scholarship of agriculture to places that I hadn’t expected it to go. Clearly there is much more to farming than the little we city folk know of it, and Salatin, both erudite and down-to-earth, is just the man to set us straight, which he does not hesitate to do.

The book’s title is its theme: the way we live on earth is not historically, traditionally, or culturally normal....more
Elaine
This guy makes a lot of sense. The current culture we live in has disconnected us from what had been 'normal' for centuries in terms of food production and how we live. We're SO used to getting 99 cent hamburgers, or trying to get the 'best deal' on food, that it's easy to not think about how it got there. Yes, modern technology has given us a lot of great conveniences, but it doesn't always mean it's better. The author talks about returning to natural ways of raising food, but using modern tech...more
Jessica
I already loved Joel Salatin before I read this book, but now he's my absolute hero! If you know who I'm talking about you've probably read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollen and/or seen the documentary Food, Inc. and if you don't know who Joel Salatin is you ought to because he is single-handedly changing the food and farming world for the better. In Folks, This Ain't Normal Salatin expounds on everything related to food and farming in our society today and how far away from normal we rea...more
Heather Denkmire
Great, good, fantastic, inspiring, then, GOSH DARNIT WHY!???!! He's a Creationist. The first several chapters were excellent and amazing. I learned a lot from this book and am motivated to return to some of my roots, so-to-speak (whole foods). I very much enjoyed how he offered practical suggestions of what we could actually *do* to make a difference.

But, oh boy, it was difficult to continue respecting his opinions after he said he was a Creationist. I didn't question everything he said, for sur...more
Mark Anderson
I truly enjoyed this book and agree with most of what the author says. Interesting information on a variety of topics specifically interesting for anyone who wants to become more self sufficient. If you don't want to become more self sufficient maybe this book will give you a push in that direction. If you've watched Food, Inc. you've seen the author he is the person talking about small farm and organic growers. I haven't ready any of his other books but plan to. Some key topics I found interest...more
Denise
I like Joel Salatin, so I can happily chuckle over his rantings and put it down to grumpiness and old age. But his bitter ramblings are not altogether without justification. This is a brilliant entrepreneur who has been subjected to the worst that a government that favors big industry over small business can hand out. Here is a man who built a living on a rocky scrap of soil and has found nothing but obstacle after obstacle in making it profitable. Thankfully his outspokenness has paid off and a...more
Steve
Fantastic book about how we get our food, and why the industrial food system as it is now is bad for us and bad for the world in general. He talks about farming, local food, and sustainability. May sound boring but it's not. Very well written, interesting and informative.
I certainly don't agree with everything he says (he is a conservative Christian Evangelical Environmentalist Green Organic Farmer), nonetheless I learned a lot and have changed my buying and eating habits as a result. Highly re...more
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Green Group: Summer 2013 Read: Folks, This Ain't Normal 4 9 Jul 17, 2013 04:26PM  
Chapter by Chapter discussion 1 8 Nov 30, 2011 09:26AM  
  • Homegrown and Handmade: A Practical Guide to More Self-Reliant Living
  • Independence Days: A Guide to Sustainable Food Storage & Preservation
  • Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America
  • Turn Here Sweet Corn: Organic Farming Works
  • Holy Shit: Managing Manure To Save Mankind
  • Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World
  • The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People, and Communities
  • Barnyard in Your Backyard: A Beginner's Guide to Raising Chickens, Ducks, Geese, Rabbits, Goats, Sheep, and Cows
  • Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies about the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You're Eating
  • Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food
  • Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit
  • Eliot Coleman's Winter Harvest Handbook: Four Season Vegetable Production for the 21st Century
  • Barnheart: The Incurable Longing for a Farm of One's Own
  • The Quarter-Acre Farm: How I kept the patio, lost the lawn, and fed my family for a year
  • Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables
  • Growing a Farmer: How I Learned to Live Off the Land
  • The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times
  • The Backyard Homestead: Produce All the Food You Need on Just a Quarter Acre!
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Joel is a nationally renowned speaker on organic farming and "relationship marketing." He is on a mission to develop emotionally, economically and environmentally enhanced agricultural enterprises, and facilitate their duplication around the world. Part of that goal is to produce the best food in the world.

Joel espouses an agricultural paradigm shift that sees plants and animals as partners rather...more
More about Joel Salatin...
Everything I Want to Do is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front You Can Farm: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Start & Succeed in a Farming Enterprise Pastured Poultry Profit$ Holy Cows and Hog Heaven: The Food Buyer's Guide to Farm Friendly Food The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer

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“The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.” 54 likes
“Read things you're sure will disagree with your current thinking. If you're a die-hard anti-animal person, read Meat. If you're a die-hard global warming advocate, read Glenn Beck. If you're a Rush Limbaugh fan, read James W. Loewen's Lies My Teachers Told Me. It'll do your mind good and get your heart rate up.” 21 likes
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